Not only is this book written beautifully, with simple yet poetic prose, but the political aspect is very engaging. Wyndham uses his characters to play differing sides to the scientific/socio-political debate of what life would be like if we lived centuries long rather than 80 years. PLUS, there is an overarching feminist debate that goes well beyond a sought after "forever-young" potion. Brilliantly written! As a botanist, I can only hope that I discover something one day that causes even a little stir in the scientific community.
Try to get your hands on this book!
Here is one review and another one if you want more information.
And on a related note...lichen are amazing! Though they appear to be one organism, they are actually a partnership between a fungi and an algae.This symbiotic relationship can result in some really beautiful and important lichen groups. Check some out here at the British Lichen Society or the Lichens of North America.